Unfortunately, not all storage units are created equal. If something about your facility seems off, it can be tough to tell if your concerns are valid or if you’re the one that’s being unreasonable. It’s kind of like a relationship. Do things seem sketchy? They probably are. Do you feel like you’re being treated poorly? You’re probably right. Don’t stick with a sub-par storage facility for years just because you don’t think you can do any better. If you see any of the following red flags, it might be time to put on your best “I think we should start seeing other people” face and break up with that deadbeat storage facility once and for all.
1. It’s Not Secure
If your storage unit gets broken into and you report it to the police and they’re all, “That sounds about right,” it’s time to get out of there ASAP. A storage facility’s main job is to keep your stuff safe. If they’re not keeping the property secure, they don’t deserve your money. If you notice non-existent or broken security cameras, poor lighting, seedy characters hanging around all day and a staff that couldn’t care less about what’s going on, your storage unit’s safety—and your own—are at risk.
2. It’s Dirty
Here’s your first clue: The storage facility’s office is a hot mess. Your next clue is the unit itself. It’s filthy to the point where you fear for the items you’re storing inside of it. When you ask the staff about pest control, they look at you like you just asked for a diamond encrusted storage unit. Drive aisles are strewn with debris that could damage your car’s tires. Walking around the property makes you want to get a tetanus shot just in case. Not too mention there’s always that weird smell…
3. Bad Customer Service
A storage facility’s staff is in the customer service business. If they harass you, swear at you or discriminate against you for your race, gender or disability (illegal, BTW), you should move out. Another bad type of customer service is non-existent customer service. Can’t get anyone on the phone? Constantly being told to direct your complaints to some giant corporate hotline? If you’re dealing with a facility that doesn’t communicate with you, don’t expect them to give you a call when that summer storm hits and your unit suffers flood damage.
4. False Advertising
The sign outside of the storage facility might advertise air-cooled units, individual alarms, on-site management and free puppies for everyone, but the actual experience of being a tenant doesn’t live up to the hype. Admittedly you were a fool to believe that last one, but you’re not a fool for being frustrated with broken elevators, missing carts and a unit that looks drastically different than the one you were shown when you toured the property. If a facility is willing to mislead you by promising flashy amenities that don’t exist, you can’t trust them.
5. Hidden Fees
That $1 move-in special sounds pretty awesome until you realize it doesn’t apply to the unit you actually want. On top of that, you’re slapped with strange “admin” or “handling” fees that you weren’t made aware of. Rent keeps going up, storage insurance becomes mandatory and renting a lock from the facility costs almost as much as the unit itself. If your checking account reads like a list of storage-related fees that you don’t understand, you’re being played.
6. Bad Reviews
Okay, so we all know to take negative reviews with a boulder-sized grain of salt, right? For some reason, the world of online reviewing has been long plagued with a serious case of the crazies. However, if the one star reviews of your storage facility all have a theme, pay attention. If the same aggressively rude employee is repeatedly called out or every single reviewer has been robbed at some point, heed the advice of your fellow consumers and run away as fast as you can.